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Freedom SummerFreedom Summer

The Chicago African Diaspora International Film Festival is back in Chicago to celebrate 12 years of consecutive work in the Windy City. To be held from June 13-19, hosted by Facets Cinematheque and presented by ArtMattan Productions, the festival will showcase 14 documentary and fiction films set in The United States, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Egypt, France, Haiti, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Curacao, Morocco, Argentina, Uruguay, and Mexico.

The festival will open with Freedom Summer by Emmy-winning MacArthur “genius” Fellow filmmaker Stanley Nelson.  A Sundance Film Festival favorite, this film covers the Civil Rights Movement efforts during a very intense period in Mississippi, the Summer of 1964. The screening will be preceded by a catered reception and will be followed by a discussion with veteran film producer Cyndee Readdean who will discuss the making of this powerful film that commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Summer events.

Another historical program highlighting the African American experience is the African-American Trailblazers Program that pays homage to the creativity, imagination and resilience of two remarkable African-American women:  Josephine Baker and Madame C.J. Walker. The two films in the program: Josephine Baker: Black Diva in a White Man’s World and Two Dollars and a Dream will be enhanced by a conversation with Professor Zakiya R. Adair, Ph.D. whose areas of specialization are transnational women’s cultural history, African American history and black expressive culture.

As Freedom Summer explores a historic moment in American History, Tula, The Revolt and The Jews of Egypt explore historic moments in Curaçao and Egypt respectively. Tula, the Revolt is an epic narrative about the slave revolt led by Tula on the island of Curaçao in 1795. The Jews of Egypt is a documentary that describes Egypt’s nation building and identity definition processes in the first half of the 20th Century. 

Music and dance are celebrated in ADIFF 2014 with four documentaries representatives of the revealing nature of art as they make us travel and see people dance and sing to incredibly rich musical expressions.  

Tango Negro: The African Roots of Tango moves in and out of Uruguay and Argentina as it illustrates the ever present African component in Tango, Candombe, Milongon and other African based musical styles found in the Rio de la Plata region.  Made in Jamaica is a powerful and revealing musical documentary that presents a rich social portrait of contemporary Jamaica through interviews with and performances by acts as diverse as Third World, Yellow Man, Bunny Wailer and Bounty Killer, just to name a few.

Presented to celebrate South Africa Youth Day in collaboration with the Chicago South African Consulate – The African Cypher is a film that harnesses the energy of the unique and diverse dancing styles of isiPantsula and sBhujwa to Krump and B-boy and that demonstrates how South Africa is a reservoir of music and dance that, with the change of times and a very creative youth movement, has tremendously enriched its musical scenario.

From Coffee Plantation to the Tumba Francesa, to be featured in the program entitled Haiti in the Spanish Speaking Caribbean, is a film that traces the origins of “Tumba Francesa” in Cuba: a dance practiced by descendants of Saint-Domingue slaves in accordance with the choreography and religious traditions of their Dahomeyan ancestry.   The presentation of this film together with that of the documentary Birthright Crisis will be followed by a discussion with Frantz Voltaire, founder and current chairman of CIDIHCA, a Haitian and Caribbean research center based in Montreal. The discussion will focus on the contributions of the Haitian people to Cuba and the Dominican Republic nations.

ADIFF 2014 will also present four fiction films dealing with love, friendship, and the confrontations of ideas and ideals. Between Frienda is a story of love, friends and life in Trinidad and Tobago. Go for Sisters by award-winning filmmaker John Sayles (The Brother from Another Planet) tells us a story of immigration, friendship, motherly love and intrigue. The Miscreants, from Morocco/Switzerland, follows a group of actors who are kidnapped by religious extremists. The interaction between both groups is very revealing. Love Triangle is an African-American romantic thriller that follows two men and a woman entangled in an impossible love affair.



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